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CFI ACS | A look under the hood


Note: Entire Presentation Slide deck is available by clicking the PDF button on the right hand side.


Flight Instructor ACS - Significant Changes - On One Page

Airman Certification Standards (CFI ACS) is a testing standard for pilot and soon-to-be instructor certificates that was partially implemented due to a legal challenge.  FAA now believes it has everything needed to satisfy releasing the remaining ACSs when it thinks appropriate. 

The release date of this document was March 30th 2024 with an effective date of May 31st 2024.

First, we’ll cover what the CFI ACS is and how to use it. 

It is:

  • NOT a syllabus or everything a pilot or instructor needs to know.

  • A standard for the knowledge test and handbooks - Knowledge areas in the ACSs.

  • A standard for Risk Management in every task.

  • A completion standard that the pilot needs to meet as a minimum for certification.

The ACS CFI is organized by:

  1. Area of Operation - A broad section of the standard, such as Takeoffs, Landings, and Go-Arounds.

  2. Tasks - These are individual maneuvers or ground topics under an Area of Operation and include - Knowledge Areas, Risk Management, and Skills standards. Short-field takeoff is an example.

  3. All tasks include References - These are the only documents/tools that can be tested on the practical test (checkride.)

  4. Special emphasis areas from the previous PTSs were moved into the appropriate Risk Management section for the task representing a previous special emphasis item.

Organizational Notes:

  1. Individual items within the Knowledge Area of each task have a unique designator.  It is a four-part code that begins with the ACS, for example, FI for Flight Instructor, next is the Area of Operation, then the task, and finally, the knowledge item.  So, for instance, FI.I.A.K1 can be decoded as FI- Flight Instructor, I-Area of operation I, A-Task A, K1-Knowledge item K1.  These codes also apply to the knowledge test questions once the ACS fully aligns with the knowledge tests. 

  2. Individual items wishing the Risk Management Area of each task also have a unique designator.  Instead of K, it is the same format as the knowledge item with the designator R for Risk Management.

  3. Skills also have unique designators. in this case, the four-part designator identifying an individual skill will have the letter S instead of R or K.

Flight Instructor ACS - Significant Changes.

  1. Risk management is included in every task, including the FOI.

  2. Some FOI Tasks have been retitled and differ from the PTS version.

  3. Certificates and Documents Task replaced with Pilot Qualifications.  Now includes Sport Pilot and BasicMed.

  4. Weather Information now includes an option to test Weather Theory.  The GFA is also listed in this section.

  5. Navigation and Cross Country Flight Planning Task now explicitly says that a computer-generated flight plan is acceptable.

  6. The previous Weight and Balance Task is removed.  Weight and balance is now included in the Performance and Limitations Task.

  7. The Principles of Flight Task now includes - Forces acting on an airplane.

  8. In the Preflight Lesson on a Maneuver to be Performed in Flight - The applicant can use previously prepared lesson plans from their library.

  9. Slow Flight, Stalls, and Spins—Now includes two methods. The first is the same as it is for Private/Commercial—not activating a Stall Warning System. The second method is a demonstration of Flight Characteristics at Various Configurations and Airspeeds. Flying at the slowest possible speed and then lowering the pitch attitude to increase speed, return to level flight, and note the new airspeed and altitude loss. Either of the two methods can be selected by the examiner.

  10. The secondary Stall Demonstration must be to a Full Stall.

  11. During a renewal or reinstatement, the examiner evaluates the period of inactivity and determines whether the testing of the FOI is appropriate.

  12. 14 CFR and Publications now require testing of INFOs and SAFOs.

  13. Endorsements and Logbook entries now include SFAR, Class B endorsements, and CFI renewal and reinstatement requirements.

  14. High Altitude Operations now have two separate tasks—one for supplemental oxygen and the other for pressurization.

    Click here to view the CFI ACS FAA

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